Issue Update: Anheuser-Busch Drops "Referee" Ads



CSPI complained late last year to the Beer Institute about Bud Light advertising that violated its voluntary advertising standards.  Without taking any action, the Beer Institute passed our complaint on to Anheuser-Busch, which rejected it off-hand.  We then asked the Federal Trade Commission to “take action to improve the beer industry’s [advertising] complaint process and strengthen its voluntary [advertising] standards.”  In response, the FTC affirmed the need for an independent external review process to strengthen the industry’s self-regulatory practices.

Today the Wall Street Journal (2/2/2005) featured an article, "Beer Industry Tests FTC's Patience," that discussed the FTC reaction to and further fallout from our Bud Light "Referee" ad complaint.  Based on beer industry comments in the article, the ads will no longer be appearing, and the Beer Institute is considering the FTC’s recommendation for an external review panel to address advertising complaints.

CSPI commends these new developments and urges the Beer Institute to expedite the creation of an external review panel, so that advertising complaints from the public can be dealt with meaningfully.

Updated February 2, 2005

Related Links:

CSPI’s letter to the Beer Institute

Anheuser-Busch Response

CSPI’s letter to the FTC

FTC Response

Beer industry voluntary advertising guidelines



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